Two men convicted of exposing Merced County high school students to asbestos will soon be headed to prison.
Patrick Bowman and Rudy Buendia III were sentenced in Fresno federal court Monday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to 27 and 24 months respectively in federal prison, according to the office of U.S. District Attorney Benjamin Wagner.
The third person in the case, Joseph Cuellar, filed a motion to withdraw his no contest plea. The motion was denied. The judge gave Cuellar’s attorney until May 15 to file additional motions prior to sentencing. A year ago, the trio pleaded no contest to federal charges of violating federal asbestos laws.
The three men were executives at the now-defunct nonprofit Firm Build. Federal prosecutors say the men used the high school students to remove the cancer-causing substance from a renovation project at Castle Commerce Center’s Automotive Training Center from September 2005 to March 2006.